GOV Note: Living a lifestyle of sexual integrity can be tough – especially in college. It’s easy to succumb to the idea that sexual purity and integrity is just a “Christian” thing, and ‘everyone is hooking up’. If they fail to see others endeavoring to live a pure lifestyle, many give up on the idea altogether. Enter The Love & Fidelity Network, a national secular program that aims to equip college students with the resources, arguments, and support they need to uphold the institution of marriage and the integrity of human sexuality. We’re excited to share some of their blogs with you, such as the one you’re about to read.
Chastity, Manliness, and the College Safari
By Richie Martin | Published on January 16, 2014
I heard once of an African tribe where, for a man to be worthy of a woman, he had to kill a lion. But what about the modern American university-man? Here I document three inner lions that university men must overcome on their college safari. This article is a series of reminders for guys who, deep down, already believe in chastity and marriage…but are second-guessing their ideals in the face of the college hook-up culture.
Lion #1: “If you’re not hooking up, you’re missing out.”
No one is exempt from that inner pull. Every year there was a famous bubbles party at fraternity row—the perfect event to go to hook up. Now, it was a long-held conviction of mine to save intimacy for marriage. But week after week of seeing dozens of cute girls in tights and heels trot past me to the row, I began to wonder. As I headed home from Friday night laboratory, I felt as if the whole world was going to this party—except me! And what was I going to do that night? Study? Play scrabble? I could feel the adrenaline rush…and a lingering whisper inside saying, “you’re missing out!” Indeed: no one is exempt from that inner pull—even the idealists.
Our hearts run on a different kind of gas. The guys who are hooking up with these girls—their hearts are like 4 cylinder stock engines. Their gas is instant physical release. But remember: your heart is a turbocharged V8 with nitro. What gas keeps us going? Many believe we’re motivated by rules, an angry God holding a lightning bolt, or some other form of external negativity. But let’s be real here: could even the most menacing flying spaghetti monster stop me from hitting up frat row, that night? No. Up against something like instant sexual pleasure (or the pursuit thereof), negativity is not enough. We need a more potent gas: virtue, propelled by ardent desires.
Chastity is about becoming a man of ardent desires. Many wrongly believe that chastity is about suppressing your desires when, in fact, it’s about enlivening them! But what really is it that’s worth desiring ardently? For a clue, check out this definition of “chastity” I coined for myself:
The unity of body and soul that empowers a man
to make a complete gift of himself—in a word, to love.
You’re a walking gift, and you will be restless until you give this gift totally to a special someone, and the world! How can someone say this is a negative suppression? Chastity enables you to harness the full power of this self-gift. It empowers you to bond with your wife one day through a life project that is for you two, and you two alone, to experience. Fight to protect that – fiercely. Get excited about that!
Lion #2: “Now’s the time to get it out of your system, while you’re in your prime!”
Hooking up doesn’t get anything “out of your system” – just the opposite. It puts junk intoyour system. In this day and age when we are constantly checking food labels, why shouldn’t we check the kind of ideas we consume? Why shouldn’t we care about our moral diets—our character hygiene? Do we really want to create an appetite for cheap thrills that, in the end, trains us in boredom and disillusionment? In a world where we’re already starved for genuine interaction with the opposite sex, hooking up is like feeding a starving man with plastic food.
College is a special time to build up your sexual powers (through “virtue”). Chastity isn’t limited to “saving yourself” for marriage. Chastity is a virtue. Virtues are meant to develop, grow in perfection, and become part of your being through good actions done repeatedly over time. The virtue of chastity is one that protects, preserves, and builds up you’re sexual powers—building up the gift of yourself! College is prime time for this, and isn’t to be wasted. It’s a special opportunity to freely choose, without your parents, who you want to be…
You are a man in the making – in all stages of life. Since middle school, people have told us “oh, you’re still young, you still have time!” When you finally get to college, the mantra becomes “this is not the real world: after college, you’ll be a real person.” Don’t be fooled! If you postpone thinking like a man, you also postpone becoming one. Don’t wait to become the man you are meant to be. Do you want to be a one-night stand kind of guy, or a one-life stand kind of guy? Will your epitaph say “he got some” or “he gave everything”? Once you recognize you are a man in “becoming,” meeting a special girl takes that to the next level – two unique individuals becoming a single, new entity…
Lion #3: “Chastity…really? Have you got any game at all?”
For goodness’ sake, have some game! I’m not talking about the gimmicky pick-up artist game – that takes away your personality. Women are drawn to guys with self-dominion and a sense of mission, who don’t chase after the next shiny thing they see. Developing the virtue of chastity enables you to have an other-centered attitude, which not only makes you an attractive man, but an attractive person. That said, never act with the intention of being attractive or liked. That’s self-centered. The point is to find out more about her, and if you like her.
Chaste personalities are 3-dimensional. Be natural! There’s no bigger turnoff than a guy who turns every conversation into a discussion of society’s moral demise. Ideals are supposed to be attractive, not overbearing! This applies very subtly, to dating. Sometimes guys who share our commitments focus only on finding the “common denominator” (values, faith, etc.) with a girl. Of course, be shameless and don’t compromise your ideals or your faith. But for heaven’s sake, don’t make it your selling point! Make sure to look for the “common numerator” – chemistry – in your dates. If the only thing you two can talk about is faith and values, you could be in trouble. Find a partner in crime whom you can laugh really hard with, until your stomach hurts!
Be adventurous and diverse. Put yourself out there! Being chaste doesn’t mean being a weakling, or one of the nice-guys-who-finish-last. They are game-changers…badass studs! They aren’t “hopeless romantics,” who merely sacrifice short-term pleasures for long-term fantasies. They are minute-men, ready to give of themselves at a moment’s notice in any situation. They aren’t joyless prudes. They are men of wild desires, tremendous ideals, and the strength and willingness to pay the price for them! We cannot afford to hang around safe-havens of like-minded people—that would be doing injustice to society. This is your world, too! Don’t be afraid to sail out into the deep, and form friendships with unlike-minded people (provided you respect your weaknesses). Carry within you a contagious energy, fueled by your ideals. The world needs more manly, attractive, and normal guys who aren’t afraid to change the world through their friendships, conversations, and example.
College is a great place to meet women. Don’t waste it! I’m going to be honest. Meeting people after college is a lot harder – and slightly more awkward. So stop being lazy. Ask girls out! Go on dates with interesting girls. If you find someone particularly interesting, figure out what she’s all about. Pursue her. Also, it’s not uncommon for all the interesting girls to be in the same circle of friends. In that case, without being awkward, learn how to appreciate group dates. That way, not only do you find which girl you like the most—you can also find who likes you the most. And, in the worst-case scenario, you won’t find that special girl, but you might find your best man.
Be prepared to suffer for your ideals. There are some principles we have to be willing to live and die for. There will be times that you will feel that your body is failing you. In those times, fall back onto your commitments. Hold the line. You know you are not missing out, even though it feels like you are. And when you feel like you have nothing left, there is one last thing that will keep you going: love. A knight cannot be brave unless he has love. Compared to a rooster, an eagle has heavier wings – and for good reason. It is the price for soaring! Try to think of suffering in terms of a “price” for something. And if there is one thing that is priceless, it is the total gift of yourself to your family…your friends…your bride…and your God.
Let the safari begin!
Richie Martin is a nom de plume. He was an LFN Student Fellow while at Washington U. in St. Louis (class of 2011). He currently teaches biology at Loyola University Chicago.
This post first appeared on The Love & Fidelity Network. Copyright 2014 Love & Fidelity Network and Richie Martin. Re-posted with permission.